A four-member committee has found “prima facie substance” in allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct levelled by a woman constable against a Chhattisgarh IGP, Pavan Dev, saying the 1992-batch IPS officer made “inappropriate phone calls”, some in the wee hours of the morning.
The constable had filed a complaint in June this year, producing copies of three recordings of calls reportedly made to her by the IGP late in the night, and said the senior officer would ask her to “come to the bungalow or the office”, and comment on her “figure and personality”.
Dev, who was moved from the post of IGP, Bilaspur, to the CID, based at the Raipur police headquarters, had denied the allegations as a conspiracy. The probe report says he has defended his interactions with the constable as routine, and claimed it was she who tried to force conversations between them.
The committee, including IPS officers Renu Pillai, B P S Posharya and Sonal Mishra, and Manisha Sharma of NGO Sankalp, was set up by the Chhattisgarh DGP to probe the matter. It submitted its 52-page report on December 2.
The report has found prima facie substance in allegations of “indecent telephonic conversations”, “calling her (the complainant) to meet at night after cancelling her assigned duty in Punjab”, and “calling the lady constable between 2:30 am and 3:30 am on 18 June 2016”. But it has found no substance in charges of arriving at the constable’s police station if she didn’t pick up phone calls, an invitation to travel to Kolkata, and threats to suspend the constable if she refused to pick up Dev’s phone calls.
A significant portion of the report revolves around one phone number, from which three calls on the night of April 18 and 21 others were made to the constable’s phone, several of them in the early hours of the morning.
As per the report, Dev said in his defence that the number was not registered in his name, was never used by him, and that he did not know the registered user of the SIM, identified as Ashok Chaturvedi. The committee, however, categorically says the number was being used by him, pointing out the common contacts between the number in question and Dev’s registered numbers, similar movements based on cell tower locations, and that when calls were made to the complainant, they were made from the vicinity of the IG’s office or residence in Bilaspur.
The IGP also argued that if the records of numbers registered in his name were looked at, it was the constable who made more calls to him, and attempted to give him information on happenings in the district she was posted in, which he did not find actionable.
On the question of inappropriate calls made to the complainant, the report says, as there were calls made by “the respondent to the complainant in middle to late night” and owing to the odd time and length of the conversations, there is prima facie substance in the allegations.
The report also notes that the senior officer was given “enough notice with repeated letters” to provide a voice sample, which he did not. “But he constantly kept asking about the rules and regulations under which this was asked for…,” the report said.
It added that Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh, found no tampering in the tapes submitted to it, and attested that one of the voices belonged to the complainant.
Nirupama Bajpai, the advocate for the woman constable, told The Indian Express that they were waiting for “the government to take action on the report”. “We will also look to contest portions of the report which did not find substance in the allegations,” she said.
Dev could not be contacted for comment, despite phone calls and messages.